Letter: Sandhill Cranes should be protected, not hunted
To the editor:
Sandhill Cranes are among the most spectacular birds on earth, and one of the oldest living species of birds.
In the Yampa Valley, how many of us have enjoyed listening to their remarkable call or watching their soaring flight on a beautiful spring day?
Because the cranes are so special to our area, I am deeply disturbed to learn there is a proposal before the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to allow a Sandhill Crane hunting season in Moffat and Routt counties.
While I am in no way anti-hunting, I adamantly oppose the hunting of Sandhill Cranes.
Why would we want to consider hunting this species when it is struggling to make a comeback in our area?
As recently as the 1940s, the Rocky Mountain Sandhill Crane population (comprising parts of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and Northwest Colorado) reached a historic low of 150 to 200 breeding pairs.
In the 1950s, only 25 breeding pairs from this population were found in Colorado.
Since then, intensive efforts have been made to recover their populations within the state.
Today, the Greater Sandhill Crane is still considered a state species of concern.
It has not yet fully recovered and still does not occupy all of its former range.
Here in the Yampa Valley, Sandhill Cranes attract tourists and wildlife watchers who spend their dollars and boost our economy.
They provide a reason for us to get out and enjoy nature with our family and friends.
A hunting season for Sandhill Cranes could be devastating to birding and wildlife tourism.
Please join us in defeating this proposal that would allow a hunting season for Sandhill Cranes in our valley.
Write or email the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission at 6060 Broadway, Denver, CO., 81626 or firstname.lastname@example.org to state your opposition to this proposal.
There is also a petition at http://www.tinyurl.com/savethecranes.
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Sitting just 15-20 minutes outside the busier part of the city of Craig, Cedar Mountain is one of the more accessible recreational areas for those who live in town.